2020 Public Safety Survey Recommendations
The following recommendations are being made in our continued efforts to further align the Pittsfield Township Public Safety department with both priorities identified by Township residents and with progressive national standards and best practices:
- Continue adhering to the gold standard of public service with an average response time of 5 minutes for emergency calls.
- Continue providing multiple platforms for public engagement including electronic, telephone, and in-person.
- Implement a request tracking system to ensure all calls for services are not only responded to in a timely manner but future calls reference previous history in an effort to further enhance customer service delivery.
- Increase the number of sworn police officers to keep pace with the increasing Township population and implement more community-centric policing policies and practices such as neighborhood patrols.
- Keeping with the aforementioned recommendation for increasing the number of sworn police officers would allow for implementation of a long-discussed need for a traffic safety unit of two to three officers focused on township-wide traffic safety and enforcement services as a way to enhance residential neighborhood safety.
- Increase our efforts to recruit and retain racially and ethnically diverse public safety staff (police, fire and non-sworn support/admin) to not just reflect the diversity of our community but to further enhance the Public Safety department’s understanding of, and providing for, services tailored to the needs of all township residents and community groups. Efforts will be made to enhance the partnership with Washtenaw Community College to engage and recruit diverse college students within the community who may seek a career in public service.
- Mandate racial bias and other such trainings to ensure public safety personnel are well equipped to address issues in a racially and culturally competent manner. Newly hired public safety personnel will be provided racial and cultural diversity training, as part of initial recruit training, to ensure awareness, understanding and skill levels commensurate with existing sworn staff.
- Adhere with and implement County/State/Federal programs and policies that support alleviating racial injustice within the realm of public safety.
- Following up on the previous recommendations, an increased and more diverse public safety team, will assist in allowing the Township to provide for greater community-centric policing focusing on, among other things, greater, racially and culturally competent public interaction/engagement.
- Increase and formalize Pittsfield Township Public Safety department’s interactions and engagement with minority populations by participating in cultural events (e.g., annual Cinco de Mayo celebration), speaking at educational institutions (e.g. Multicultural Academy), and convening public forums that invite faith-based and other community leaders from all the minority communities in Pittsfield Township with a goal of providing equitable public safety services.
- We will begin equipping all uniformed police department personnel with body-worn cameras when in contact with the public. The use of body-worn cameras has become a national best practice and professional standard with many of the privacy concerns having been resolved through legislation and/or court rulings.
- Contingent on passage of the public safety millage in 2021, we will dedicate resources to begin publishing a public safety newsletter – to be disseminated via multiple platforms – that will include this information.
- Uphold the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees’ recent approval of a three-year extension agreement with the Saline Area Schools to maintain the equal cost-sharing for a School Resource Officer at the high school.
- Establish formal partnerships with appropriate educational, faith-based, non-profit, and training institutions to begin creating a pipeline to attract diverse local talent for recruitment to the Township’s public safety department.
- In addition to the above-noted recommendations to enhance team diversity, community-centric policing, and information dissemination, we will implement a formal policy mandating racial-bias training. While this training has been provided to public safety personnel most recently in 2020, we will ensure that it is ongoing, relevant, and sustained. In addition, the recommendation for #12 provides for publishing/disseminating traffic stop data.
- Enhance coordination with the Washtenaw County Sherriff’s Office to utilize existing pipeline of services that, through the County Mental Health millage, provides resources to local public safety personnel.
In addition to the improvements/advancements that have been accomplished by the public safety department since 2010 outlined in the June 2020 Report on Public Safety’s Ongoing Community Relations Efforts, the above-noted recommendations will allow us to further enhance public trust and transparency. Through professional integrity and accountability, impartiality, fairness, equality and inclusivity, accomplishing the above-listed recommendations will go a long way to ensuring a strong and lasting relationship between the Pittsfield Township Public Safety department and the community we serve and protect.
2020 proved to be a year filled with events that will reshape how many municipal services are structured and delivered to the public. The significance of the Great Pandemic and events highlighting social justice and equity must be acknowledged, with the determined mindset that allows for the rapid progression of public services to meet the needs of every citizen – in a fair, equal, inclusive and transparent manner with the health, well-being and satisfaction of every person deemed to be most important goal.
For public safety, specifically, 2020 saw the continued commitment to the Gold Standard of fire and police services to our community. In addition to responding to the pandemic and social justice events taking place, the Department of Public Safety continued advancements with compliance with the 8Can’t Wait project, providing additional implicit bias and force de-escalation training, and completion of the Public Safety Community Survey that resulted with the above recommendations.
For 2021, the Department of Public Safety will work toward accomplishing survey recommendations, starting with the publication of an additional forty-five policing polices to the Township’s website, identifying, ordering and deploying a body-worn camera system, initiating a recruiting partnership with Washtenaw Community College to enhance team diversity, continuing cultural and bias awareness and force mitigation trainings, as well as continuing efforts with community-centric policing.